Warner: No red or blue cybersecurity teams

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) said he hopes the Senate will tackle data breach legislation during the upcoming lame-duck session.

At least one tech-savvy Capitol Hill Democrat is waiting to see what a Trump administration looks like and hopes to find common ground on issues such as cybersecurity.

"We're going into an unprecedented area," Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) said about the incoming administration at a Nov. 15 conference hosted by IT vendor Splunk. "I owe the president-elect the benefit of the doubt.… I want to work with him" on a number of issues.

Warner, who made a fortune in the 1980s as co-founder of the company that became Nextel and as a technology investor, is one of the founders of the Senate Cybersecurity Caucus, launched this past summer as a forum for a policy challenge that can transcend committee assignments.

He said he wants to work with President-elect Donald Trump on cybersecurity and workforce issues. Judging from Trump's past remarks, Warner added, the president-elect "doesn't have a lot of knowledge [of workforce issues] or the complexity of cybersecurity."

In these challenging times for career and politically appointed federal employees, "we all need to buck up," Warner said, because the government needs employees' ideas and energy as never before.

Fortunately, he added, "there are no red teams or blue teams" for cybersecurity.

He also said efforts are continuing on legislation that would bolster companies' data breach reporting. The breach that exposed the information of 500 million Yahoo users shows that more oversight and reporting requirements are needed, he added.

The company knew about the massive data exposure but did not report it in its Securities and Exchange Commission filings, Warner said, adding that "there are no common data breach notification" rules in the U.S. The issue has instead been left up to the states.

He said federal legislation must prevent specific industries from being exempted from breach-reporting requirements. "Everyone has to be in the bucket," Warner said. "We can't wind up with Swiss cheese" legislation.

Warner added that he hopes the Senate will tackle data breach legislation during the upcoming lame-duck session, but he told FCW after his presentation that although proponents are close to succeeding, "it would be a stretch" if any bill made it through.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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